By Janice C. Anderson, Texas Chapter and SLA 2011 Conference Advisory Council
You may or may not have recognized the grey-haired female on the top banner on the SLA 2011 Philadelphia Conference registration page a few weeks ago. Well…it was lil’ol’ me. I wasn’t even aware that I was photographed, let alone that my mug had made it to the website. When Cindy Romaine reached out to me and suggested that I was the ‘poster child for the Future Ready Conference’, I could not refuse to share my thoughts for the 365 Blog?
As a member of the 2011 Conference Planning Advisory Council I was immediately drawn to the ‘Future Ready’ theme that Cindy presented to us. In many ways I have been living in the future for most of my career as a librarian/information management professional turned entrepreneur and business owner. I have challenged myself to think broadly and creatively in how to apply the principles and practices of library and information sciences in the business environments of my customers. I have challenged my colleagues and co-workers to create and apply effective and relevant techniques for managing information assets, and in an environment of constant change and continuous learning, to deliver value and transfer knowledge to others.
My emphasis has always been on technology and daily activities to keep up with the rapidly changing regulatory environments and tools that our customers use and need to manage and access information assets. That emphasis is critical to both the present and the future. You might ask yourself what else a 60-something grandmother, aka ‘little librarian lady’, could say or do that would help her and others be ‘Future Ready’…maybe prepare for retirement and ultimate wind-down? Coming out of a deep economic recession with Medicare and Social Security in trouble, what can we Baby Boomers do to be ‘Future Ready’? After all, we see the good times in the rear view mirror, right?
Not so much! You see, from where I sit the future is now for information professionals; my success and that of many folks a third of my age depends not so much on what we know, or even what we can learn. The bright future for all of us is shaped by our thinking and being, by our ability and willingness to dream and adapt. There’s no time for looking back or whining; it’s time to jump onto the court and grab the ball.
So then, what does ‘Future Ready’ look like to me? It looks like
- Eliminating self-imposed limits and worn out thinking that cause us to hesitate, avoid risk, and postpone getting started.
- Learning something new every single day, even if that learning is that we are not as smart as we once thought.
- Working hard to remove barriers that limit our abilities to access information, learn, grow and contribute in meaningful ways.
- Sitting on the edge of our seats, working to make a difference, expecting great things to happen, and then celebrating when they do!
Janice C. Anderson is founder and CEO of Access Sciences Corporation, a 26 year-old information management consulting and technology practice. She serves on the 2011 SLA Conference Planning Advisory Council.